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Bernard Brodie and the Foundations of American Nuclear Strategy

Barry H. Steiner

xvi, 368 pages, 6 x 9
Modern War Studies
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-0441-8, $40.00

Book Cover ImageDespite glasnost and the unexpected thaw in East-West relations, American foreign policy continues to evolve within the shadow of a nuclear strategy profoundly shaped by the writings of Bernard Brodie.

Renowned as "the American Clausewitz," Bernard Brodie (1910-1978) was one of the premier architects and proponents of the strategy of deterrence and one of the most articulate voices in the debate over the role of nuclear weapons. His writings reflect his struggle with the dramatic shift in defense strategy brought about by "the bomb" and his unswerving belief that nuclear weapons had made total war obsolete.

Steiner maps out Brodie's strategic thought as it developed from the best-selling Seapower in the Machine Age (1941) and The Absolute Weapon: Atomic Power and World Order (1946) through Strategy and the Missile Age (1959) and War and Politics (1973), and in his articles, lectures, reports, and speeches. He analyzes how Brodie and other strategists tried to cope with the juggernaut of change in nuclear weapons systems, Soviet expansionist aims, the wars in Korea and Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and a host of other events and issues. Steiner shows that Brodie was instrumental in shaping American national strategy for the last half-century.

"This book is an outstanding contribution to the continuing debate about the nature of national security and the appropriate ways of analyzing war and developing defense policy in the modern world. Steiner not only traces the ideas and influence of one of the most creative strategic thinkers of our time, but also illuminates the intellectual, institutional, and political contexts in which Brodie worked."--Peter Paret, coeditor of The Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age

"A significant study that succeeds in tracing the evolution of a very important strategic thinker and his influence on American nuclear strategy."--George H. Quester, author of The Future of Nuclear Deterrence and Nuclear Diplomacy

"I am impressed with the maturity of Steiner's analysis. He emphathizes with Brodie while at the same time giving an objective, balanced assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Brodie's thought."--Alexander L. George, coauthor of Deterrence in American Foreign Policy

BARRY H. STEINER is professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach. He has held research fellowships at the Institute for the Study of World Politics, the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, and the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California and has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University. He is the author of Arms Races, Diplomacy, and Recurring Behavior.

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